Mindful Mandala: 7 Days of Relaxation & Creative Play | Neha Modi | Skillshare

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Mindful Mandala: 7 Days of Relaxation & Creative Play

teacher avatar Neha Modi, Mindful Artist & Educator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project & Material


    • 3.

      Day 1: Creative Play: Stickers


    • 4.

      Day 2: Dealing With Control: Marks


    • 5.

      Day 3: Letting Go: Nature Hunt


    • 6.

      Day 4: Words: Journaling


    • 7.

      Day 5: Flow: Watercolor & Ink


    • 8.

      Day 6: Perspective: Optical Illusion


    • 9.

      Day 7: Unraveling Expectations: Yarn


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

The more we open up to possibilities, revel in the simplicity of repetition, let go of expectations and be in tune of what we are making, the more centred and mindful we become!

During the 7 days mandala exploration, I will take you through a series of unique and fun mandala exercises designed to, help you unwind, experience the flow state and deepen your understanding about mindfulness. Together we are going to access a range of possibilities all unfolding within the wholesome circle, that too without any judgement and pressure.

We will keep the core of the mandala - the circle intact, but then experiment with different materials and techniques and learn about design and composition to create something self reflective and personal. Each and every prompt is packed with demonstration, insights about mindfulness and various examples to help you make the most of it.

 In this class you will:

  • Tap into your intuitive and childlike side by creating art with stickers
  • Deepen our understanding about control through the movement of paint and brush 
  • Get comfortable with letting go and appreciate the present moment by making art with natural materials
  • Do some self reflection and move into a state of mindfulness through words
  • Make space for stillness and solitude by making optical illusion pattern
  • Have fun with watercolour and ink for some low pressure creative downtime
  • Use yarn to discover the joy of creating without expectations

This is a great class to take if right now, you are looking for a new creative outlet or you are going through a creative block or you are interested in adapting mindfulness through a creative practice. No matter your skill level, you will find something valuable within the realm of the wholesome, meditative circle. So block some creative self care time in your calendars, grab your art supplies and join me in the class!

Meet Your Teacher

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Neha Modi

Mindful Artist & Educator

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1. Introduction : Art, isn't just about technique, it's also about embracing both ugly, imperfect marks and shapes with the cutest approach and an open heart. Art isn't just about creating a masterpiece. It's also about doing something simple and letting our inner child have a good time. Art isn't just a hobby, it's also a way to practice mindfulness and meditation. Hi. I'm Neha Modi, artist and educator based in Amsterdam. Few years back, when I started making art, one one the first things that I tried was a mandala. The ancient art form which I had seen in various forms while growing up in India, had gained immense popularity in West, and was everywhere. It still is. At that time, I made few of them. But the pressure of creating a perfectly symmetrical grid and matching my final design up to the intricate ones that others were making, removed the joy out of the process. I stepped away from it, and it's only recently I stumbled back to it. This time I made the mandala in my own way, the lighthearted, non-judgmental, sometimes wonky, and sometimes experimental way. These ways are the foundation of this class. Throughout the course of these seven days, we explore mandala through the medium of water colors and ink, mark making, optical illusion patterns, and journaling. We will even create them with materials like yarn, stickers, and flowers and leaves. Each day, we will focus on different aspects of mindfulness and how to adapt it into our creative practice, and eventually into our lives. For example, on day 3, through the medium of nature mandala, we will learn to be fully present and appreciate moments, till they last. That is why at the end of this class, not only will you have seven unique mandala designs, but you will also deepen your understanding about creating mindfully. Whether you're a total beginner looking for a creative outlet or you are a professional artist looking for ways to keep that creative spark alive, then there is something for you in this class. To take this class, you will need readily available art supplies, your curiosity, and most importantly, your creative spirit. Let's get started. 2. Class Project & Material : Welcome to the class. I'm so happy that you are here. Over the course of the next seven days, I'll take you through a series of exercises, each focusing on a different style of mandala, each focusing on a different aspect of mindfulness and play. Together, we'll start from a blank page with a dot in the middle, make a grid and from that basic structure, create something so individual that it will become the representation of our inner cells. We'll keep the core of the mandala, the circle, intact. But then we'll experiment with different materials, techniques, and learn about design and composition. I'll share with you tips and examples to help you make the most of it. Your class project is to create artwork based on each of the seven mandala prompts and share them in the project gallery. But then, as this class is about creative relaxation and experimentation, you don't have to share all of the exercises. Feel free to share whatever you are comfortable with. I would suggest keeping aside at least 30 minutes to one hour hour each of these exercises. The size of your paper, your base, is a big factor in estimating time. Do keep that in mind before starting your mandala activity. The seven days don't have to be consecutive. You can spread them over a longer period of time too. Do it at your own pace, and as and when you do them, you can share them in the project gallery. Now, as this is a mixed media class, there are a variety of things that we will need for this class. That is why, in the beginning of each exercise, I will share the material that I will be using for that particular prompt. But to get you started, here is a comprehensive list of things that we will need for this class: loose watercolor sheets or a watercolor sketchbook, watercolors, a mixed variety of brushes, the basic drawing supplies like protractor, compass, scale, pencil, and eraser, fineliner or any type of pen to write and doodle with, stickers, yarn, glue, and scissors, flowers, pebbles, leaves, and etc. Now, this may seem like a lot of material, but most of them are easily available, and chances are you might be having some of them already with you. You can even borrow it from your kid. I did that. Don't worry about the material quality or the brand, just start with what you have. This class is my gentle reminder to you to find some some to slow down and let your worries be carried away through meditative and repetitive movements. Get your material, look some self-care time into your calendar, find a quiet spot, and get started. 3. Day 1: Creative Play: Stickers: Let's start our day 1 with something absolutely cool and fun. As the name suggests, today's prompt is about stickers. I can assume that most of us really like stickers. Not only they uplifted any surface they were put onto, but they were also way for us to make a statement and let the world know what we were into. Now, after having put stickers on bottles, bags, and our different boxes, how about today we put them on paper and make something fun out of it? Let's get started. The full set of material that we need for this exercise is the regular mandala-making material. The paper I'm using is a 250 GSM, A4 Size 1. There is a rounder, ruler, protractor, eraser, and a pencil. In terms of paper, you can use a cardstock, canvas, or even a sketchbook, everything works. Then we need stickers, lots and lots of stickers. Now some of the things that you should consider while getting stickers for this activity are use stickers that are mirrored or almost symmetrical. Make sure to have at least four or eight pieces of each sticker. This way they can be repeated in each quadrant. Use stickers that have different shapes, colors, and sizes for a dynamic mandala. In case you don't have stickers, then you can use pictures from magazines. You can cut same size shapes and make colored sets out of them. You can also find similar type of things from magazines and use the principles we are going to discuss in this class to make a mandala. Let's start this exercise by making the grid. To make the grid, we first need to find the center of the page. Once it's done, you will just start making circles from the center. I'm not being precise about the distance between each circle. Just making few circles till the edge of the page. Now, depending on the size of your page, you can decide the size of your grid. If you don't have a rounder, you can use plates and bowls of different sizes to make circles. Though if you can, then do get a rounder as it is an important material and can simplify and fasten up your whole process, and not just in this exercise, but some of the other exercise in this class too. Once the circles are done, take your ruler and from the center point, divide your base into two parts. After this, we are going to use a protractor to divide it further. I'm making one mark at 30 and the other at 60 in this quadrant. Then I will do the same in other sections too. For a much detail-looking mandala, you can always make marks at every 10 degree. But for a simple one, like the one which we are making today, just few divisions absolutely work. I'm doing the same thing on the opposite side too, just taking my time to place the protractor on the center, and only then I will mark the points. Once it is done, all I need to do is join these points with the help of a ruler and make further sections. Now, if you don't like this geometric work like me, then don't worry. It's only in this first exercise that you are making a detailed grid like this. In the exercises to follow, our grid will only consist of the center point and some circles. You can absolutely ditch the scale and the protractor once you are done with this mandala. This is how my grid looks in the end. Now enough of the grid, let's bring in the stickers. I'm using this farm pinned kid's sticker booklet. It's very cheap, basic, but has 1,000 stickers in it and it is bright and colorful, so it works. You can use a themed booklet like this one, or go abstract or mix-and-match things. More than the theme of stickers, it's the way we repeat them and place them that matters. This booklet doesn't have mirrored stickers, but it has lot of windmill sunflowers and stuff which are symmetrical. Most of the times, I will try to use these. I'm going to start the mandala with the brightest circle, the sun. I'm taking time to adjust the sticker as this is the start. I try to place it as precisely as I can. Not rushing is the thumb rule here. Now once the center is done, I'm going to start using these lines as a guide and build by mandala from there. The idea is to use the central image, which is the sun here, and then put together patterns and less around the central motif. I'm using these cute little trees here as I feel they fit well in this space. Once I have decided on the sticker, after that, it is all about doing the exact same thing on the opposite side. To make the mandala visually interesting, it's good to mix tall and short stickers and that's why I'm sticking these tomatoes here. They're very tiny and the pop of red looks good too. My first round is done. I will move on to the next one. Now to meet the mandala more balanced and to keep the overall shape intact, I find that it is better to force place some large stickers. Like this windmill one is slightly large, and once I place this, it makes it easier for me to fill some smaller ones in the gap. I'm placing this windmill sticker in between the lines. It's for placements like these, the divisions and the lines we made in the beginning help. Now, I have placed the apple slightly wrong, so I'm removing it and trying to align it into the column. Once it is done, I can place the windmill on top of it. Feel free to remove or adjust the stickers. Take your own time. As you move outwards with each layer, focus on aligning the stickers as for the grid and making each side a mirror image of the opposite. My next sticker is going to be this haystack. It's symmetrical and a slightly bigger one too. Now for this piece here, I think I need to use something which is thin and tall or either two small elements. The composition depends quite a lot on what we have. I always take time to look at each and every sticker and try and estimate what can fit in the space. I find this activity like a puzzle, and I feel we can only enjoy it when we slow down. Don't get too precious about the end result and get creative. I'm placing these tiny carrots here. After this, I'm going to first focus on this quadrant. I will again, mix and match big and small stickers and fill up this space, the scarecrow sticker works well here. Now as you can see, it is not exactly symmetrical. But it is relatively equally proportioned, so I'm going to go with it. Now because of this sticker, the gap between windmills differ, but it doesn't affect the overall composition, so I'm going with it. Another thing to note is that before you place your sticker, it is good to count the number of times you're going to need them. I'm going to need four of these crate stickers, and I will need eight of the scarecrow ones. Along with the shape and size, the quantity of the sticker you want to use also matters. Now, I'm going to treat this cute girl with basket as one of the central sticker character of my mandala. By central character I mean stickers that are slightly big. These big stickers bring some variation in the design. They help in aligning the composition and make clear pathway for the smaller ones to complete the narrative. Even though this sticker is not mirrored, I'm just following my instinct and going with this one. As you keep placing your stickers, step back after each step and think about the space. Go through your stickers once again, and take your time in deciding what to place where. How you arrange your stickers of different sizes will determine your end result, and there's is no right or wrong approach. This is play, this is not a testament of your skill as an artist. This is about your liking. This is about the stickers you have. Now for the space here, I'm really confused. That's why sometimes I just like to peel the sticker and I try moving it around and see if it looks nice or not. Sometimes I even go back and remove the ones that I've already stuck. This looks cute. Now I need to think about this remaining place. I'm going through my booklet once again and searching for the ones that can fit in the mandala. I have decided to stick these leaves here because I like the way the solid green of this sticker breaks the monotony of only pattern stickers in this area. Again, this one is not symmetrical, but I like the way it looks here, and at the end, we are not aiming for perfection. This whole process is about finding the balance between the basic rules of a mandala, which is symmetry and repetition, and tapping into our inner child by engaging in creative play. Now, just like big stickers, tiny stickers are equally important as they help in filling up the gap. Like these cute carrots here. When you reach the outermost circle, if possible, try and pick up the stickers that will keep the mandala within the parameter of the grid. Try to place stickers that are preferably round and pay attention to their size. The barrel works here, and I'm happy that this set also has this fence sticker. I like it here and not all the elements will fit perfectly in the circle or complete the circle, like the butterfly one doesn't. But it's important to work with whatever we have and keep placing stickers until we are happy with the final result. I really like this whole arrangement and now it is just about repetition. As I have the whole plan laid out in front of me, I don't have to think much. This is when the act of repeatedly putting the stickers starts becoming meditative. Do remember that this whole activity has its share of trial and error. I placed and replaced and swapped out stickers few times before I got it the way I wanted. But it's okay. At the end of the day, these are stickers and they are meant for playing around. Don't worry about mistakes and try not to overthink. Keep extending from the center, take help of the guidelines, and you will quickly get a hang of it. This mandala is not only good for relaxing, but it also helps in building creative intuition and composition skills. Just trust yourself and build a mandala, the way it feels right to you. I really like the way it has turned out. I'm just going to softly erase the grid lines and then it is done. I absolutely enjoyed making this mandala. Let me tell you, it's just not possible to stop at one. Here are some other sticker mandalas that I have made. Every mandala is based on the stickers I have used. But in each of these, I have followed the basic grid and symmetry. All of them are from kid's booklet, so I'm never worried about the cost. The best part is once you get a hang of it, they're very fast to make. Mandalas are generally considered to be a very serious activity. But in this case, even when we followed all the basic rules of a mandala, we did make it fun. This is what we as adults need to apply more into our everyday lives. Just because we have responsibilities doesn't mean we can't engage in some playtime. We need to make things just for the sake of making. It's good for a heart and mind to let our inner child color outside the lines, or in this case, decorate with stickers. 4. Day 2: Dealing With Control: Marks: I'm very excited about today's prompt, as it is one of my favorite ways to make a mandala. I think it's a very interesting way to see how paint and movement work together to create interesting visuals. It's also a good way to warm up, and because it's such an open-ended exercise, there's lot of scope for play and variations. It's also a meditative process which makes us realize that just like in art, in life too, sometimes the outcomes don't come out the way we intend to. Yet we need to keep building around them, make it a part of our story. I think I've said more than enough benefits. Let's start the activity. Before we start the mandala, it's important to know our brushes and see the marks they can make. The brushes I'm using are quite cheap and there's no stress of ruining them. Some of them are the ones that I use regularly, like round and the flat brush, and some are the ones I hardly use like a fan and the rigger brush. Bring out all the brushes that you have, even the ones that are ruined or the ones that your kids might be using. More the variety, the better it is. I'm going to start with this big flat brush first. I'm using the watercolors that were there in my palette. I'm just going to vary the pressure and see what I get. With very little force, I get these dashes. With a little more pressure, the shape changes. Then I press the brush completely on the paper, I get another shape. I can even get lines by just touching the tip of the brush on paper. One brush and so many variations. Let's try the fan brush now. I think it's quite interesting, reminds me of grass. Again this time, I'm touching it completely on paper and getting this mark. Now here, I'm just touching the tips of the brush, and then I'm just increasing the pressure and getting lines of various sizes. Now let's move on to a very versatile and common brush, the round brush. I'm using the size 1 brush. Which ever size brush you have, you can more or less get the same type of marks with that one too. Now, the first mark I get by just pressing the brush completely on paper, but with less pressure, is these petals or droplets mark. Now just like the previous pressures, here too, I will vary the pressure and see the variations. If I just touch the tip, I get these tiny marks, which I think it'd be great filler in any pattern. I think when it comes to mark-making, the speed with which you make marks and the amount of paint on the brush also brings out variation in the mark. Even with one or few brushes, there is a lot that can be done. Next, I'm going to use this filbert brush. I think these marks can qualify as scallops, both big and small scallops. I'm just playing around and seeing what happens. Now, this flat brush here is a little ruined, but it is perfect for mark-making. I think I can get some amazing marks from it. The more you make these, the more you understand about the amount of paint that should be on the brush and the pressure you need to apply with. I'm naturally drawn towards small, tiny marks as I find them more calming and that's why with every brush, I try and check the tiny marks that I can get. Next, I'm going to try this linear brush. I like how it gives these imperfect lines. I don't use this brush for regular work, but it's quite an asset when it comes to mark-making. I'm just moving around the brush by adding the force and just having fun with it. I think this one requires quite a bit of patience, but still, it is quite fun. This angular brush is not the type of brush I use regularly, but I think it'll be a fun addition to this collection of marks. The base of these marks is same as the one we got from the flat brush. But the difference is the slanting direction here. I'm using the same techniques which I have used with the previous brushes. I like how little changes in directions are giving me these patterns. Throughout this activity, notice the marks your hand is naturally inclined to make. Go with the flow and remember, nothing is precious. This is warm-up. Next up is this dagger brush. I like the small marks that I'm getting from this brush, and now I'll just change the direction and see what else I can get. Now, this next brush is called a sawtooth brush. Let's see what happens with this one. I really like the marks that I'm getting from this, and I will use them in some of my mandala. With this, we are done with the first part of this exercise. You can keep building this brush mark dictionary and access it before starting your mandala. You can write the name of brushes next to the marks too. Don't worry if you don't have these unique brushes. Just start with the basic round and a flat brush, and I'm sure you will get quite a few marks. Now let me show you how these marks can be turned into a mandala. I'm using this 300 GSM A4 size watercolor paper. I've already marked the center. Here are my colors. I'm using a tropical color scheme. The brushes I will use for this mandala are a big flat brush, a small size flat brush, a round one, and this filbert brush. I'm also going to use this rough paper to check the paint consistency before making marks on the main page. For this style of mandala, I prefer not to make all the circles at one go. I do it gradually depending on the brushes I'm using and where those marks are ending. I started with the smallest circle and left quite some space and then make the other one. Now I'm going to fill up the space by using a big flat brush. I always prefer trying it out on the rough paper first. I'm going to try making 10 lines with this brush, so I have a bit of paint right on the top edge of the brush and I'm going to press it down lightly on the paper, so just pressing it down and lifting it up back-to-back to make two close marks and thus one big line. My first set of patterns is done and now I'm going to use another flat brush to fill up the space between these lines. Now this brush is slightly roomed and thus perfect to make unique marks. Yet again, I'm checking the amount of paint and trying out the marks on the rough paper first. I'm going to go with really small marks, I think it's a good contrast against the big lines. They're very low pressure and I like how the smaller marks remind me of the smaller steps in life, the steps which are mostly under control. One of the advantages of mindfully approaching any task, whether it's art or otherwise, is that it helps us identifying the areas that are under our control. The slow movement that increase attention to a singular activity and the heightened awareness helps in clearing the clutter and leads to newer insights, so do this activity to experiment and create some interesting designs, but also to practice mindfulness and to get comfortable with the marks that are under control, as well as the ones that aren't under control. Now for the next set of patterns, I'm using the filbert brush. I'm making these tiny scallops marks. I'm putting them very close to each other and trying to create a closed circle out of it. This is done, it's imperfect, but I think it absolutely works here. I'm going to use the round brush now. I'm going to use it in its simplest form, which is pressing it down completely and gently on paper to get these tiny petals, droplets mark. If you have a big brush, you can go ahead and make big petlets. Now, I'm displacing the marks in a way that they end up becoming a pattern too. While you are doing this exercise, remember to experiment with the way you place marks next to each other, or on top of each other. The more you play with them, the more patterns you might get. Now based on where this pattern ended, I'm again using a rounder to make a circle and then I'm using the same filbert brush to make scallops around the circuit. From this point on, it's all about repetition. I think for now, I will go with this four set of brushes and the four set of round of marks I made with them. If I feel the need, I might add something later. Throughout this exercise, I'm not aiming for a perfect line or a mark, I'm just putting marks on people and seeing how it looks when I put it in a circle. But every brush mark I make, I try to distance myself from the notion of perfection and get closer to the instinctive, spontaneous, and free side of mark making. My goal here is to be mindful of the paint on my brush, of the pressure I'm putting while making the marks, and just watching the marks appear on the page without any judgment. The marks that reappear repeatedly starts becoming familiar, starts giving a sense of calmness, a sense of rest and yes, a very important thing to note is that even with all the attention, I do end up making mistakes. But then I've learned to treat them as happy accidents. This acceptance has not only relieved the pressure of creating something exceptional, but has also allowed space to develop a unique style. I really like how this exercise just like a circle is a wholesome way to practice, to experiment, to get creative, to develop a different style all while being mindful and having fun. Now, as I have reached the perimeter of my mandala, I'm taking a step back to see how I feel about it. I find this empty space a bit odd, and thus I'm going to fill it up. I'll be using the same round brush that I used for the pink petals. But this time, I'm only going to press the tip part of the brush on the paper. I will fill up this whole space with these tiny marks. As we saw in the mark making part of this exercise, even a single brush can give different types of marks and I'm happy that I'm getting a chance to do that here in this mandala. Now for the center, I filled it up with pink and for the remaining space, I'm just going to make some marks with the filbert brush. But this, our mandala for D2 is done. I like the imperfections, the crooked marks, and lines. Each of them reflects what I felt in the moment and that was the goal of this exercise. Let me show you some other mandala, each with its own process, each with its own story of marks and movement. These two are just done with one style of brush mark, and these two here are just made with two set of brushes. I hope you enjoyed this activity and I'm excited to explore this further. Don't think much about the whole process, just pick some brushes, make some marks, and see where it takes you. I think it's a beautiful and colorful experience without any right or wrong. Just like the decisions we take in life, each mark even when it is a very mindful and thoughtful move, sometimes it gives desired results and sometimes not. Yet we keep building around it, we make it a part of our mandala, of our sokol, and of our story. 5. Day 3: Letting Go: Nature Hunt : From listening to birds, to inhaling fresh air, to looking at the flowers bloom, the lockdown life has made us realize that nature is one of our most prized asset. When the world came to stand still, nature kept moving and brought in a sense of calm and certainty. I remember, on the days when everything felt overwhelming, just a walk in the park right in front of my house helped me to calm down. It's during one of those walks, I picked a few daisies from the ground and started making a pattern out of it. Now, I had done similar thing while growing up. We used to make these elaborate fresh flower patterns, which is called flower rangoli in India on festivals and big occasions. Though the ones that I started making weren't as elaborate as those, the essence was same. It was about creating art with the natural material and patiently spending time doing something which will not last forever. Let me share with you a fun and simple way of immersing yourself in nature. To start off, you need to gather the raw material. Flowers, leaves, berries, pebbles, twigs, pine cones, anything, and everything works. You can gather material from your garden or look for fallen leaves or pebbles in the natural space around you. I have created mandala using material from my own balcony garden, sometimes from my friend's garden, and sometimes collected leaves and stones from my walks. Since one of the main tricks of a mandala is symmetry, try to gather enough material to create repeating patterns. Collect more material than you think you might need. As that way, you won't have to stop in between while creating your mandala. Let me show you my process. Whenever the weather is nice, which is not very usual here in Netherlands, I prefer making a nature mandala outside. It's temporary, it's fleeting, and just feels right to do it outdoors. But then depending on where you live, feel free to decide your space. As always, more than the material, more than the space, it's your mindset while creating that will make a difference. I'm starting with these rose as I like starting with circle, and it helps in setting the tone for the mandala. Next up, I think I will use these white petals. Now, I'm going to be making a free-flowing mandala. But if you prefer to plan ahead, then you can make a rough sketch before on a paper, or use chalk to draw a grid. Another helpful tip is to use a hola loop and arrange within it for a proper circle. Choose the option that inspires you to create and not restrain. Next up, I'm using these leaves. I simply love using leaves in my mandala. Not only I like the pop of green, but also the various shapes that leaves come in. After every step, it's good to take a step back and look at your mandala and see what you want to do next. Mix and match the size of elements to bring some variations and don't worry about keeping it perfect. A wonky so cool is perfectly fine. As you can see, the sun is out and shining and it's making the process a little more brighter for me. Anyways, instead of putting these big leaves individually in a circle, I have decided to arrange these leaves together so that it looks like a different shape. I think the interesting part about nature mandala is that even if next time I create with the same set of material, I will get different results. That just shows that we can deliver different results with the same things. It makes you realize that you don't have to have all the shades of color or all the different types of pens to create art, a little material and lots of trial and error can go a long way. Coming back to the mandala. This time, instead of the rose, I'm using the petals, and for the next circle, I'm using the white ones. I like repeating the white again in this composition because of two reasons. One, it helps bringing in the whole mandala together. Two, I have limited variety of materials, so I have to get creative with whatever I have. I think I'm almost done, just filling up the empty space and seeing what can work there. The repetition of purple and tiny yellow flowers is all for filling up the gap. I like how all the different things and colors are coming together to form one big design. Together, it all looks like a colorful little artwork with nature as canvas, nature as colors. I really like the feel of different textures, colors, and sizes. Even though I love making nature-inspired art, this activity gets me up close and personal to these natural textures, and it is very inspiring. The mandala for day 3 is done. But then there's a little something I want to share before we move ahead. With this monk take days to create an intricate sand mandala, deeply throughout the process to practice mindfulness and meditation. But once the mandala is done, they destroy it, and the color of sand is dispersed into water. They do this to signify that nothing is permanent in life. I can also do the same here with my mandala, and I actually do it that way when I make it at home. But as this is outdoors, I'm leaving it as it is. I feel it'll be a nice little surprise for anyone who comes across it. Here are some other mandalas that I have made over the past few months. In this one, I used chalk as a basic guideline. I wanted to see if it makes a difference in the process. But for me, it didn't make a much difference. But if you are someone who likes to plan, then it's a good little trick. Though, I absolutely enjoyed using these bright and colorful flowers. Some of the mandalas I have made are just with single material. Like here, it's with daisies, and here, it's with leaves. Even if you have access to any one element, it can work. This leave mandala is actually one of my favorite, as it felt similar to making a single repeat pattern. In this one, I used some stones and leaves, and I remember how in the middle of making it, it got really windy, and everything started moving. I had to stop in between. In normal days, if someone interrupts my creative process, I don't like it. But at that time, as the forces were beyond my control, I didn't react much. Again, a lesson learned in patience and starting over again. Do remember that you can make your mandala patterns as large or as small as you like. I decide the size of my nature mandala depending on the time I have and the material. I don't like to bound myself with the size, and thus, there are times when I take 10 minutes, and there are times when I take an hour to create a mandala. Each of these gives me joy and satisfaction of creating something spontaneous. The key is to make something that celebrates the natural beauty, fills us with peace, and yet in the end, reminds us that everything is temporary, and if we want a wholesome experience, we got to be aware and present in every moment. You can even involve kids in the process and let them be a part of this judgment-free, mindful process. When creative activities are low stake, it gets so much easier to wander into the creative state and create more often. When we learn to let go of the end result, it gets so much easier to enjoy the whole process and accept the final outcome wholeheartedly. When you make your nature mandala, don't worry about it being good enough or not, just make with whatever you have. Encourage yourself to look at things around you with a new perspective. It's a beautiful way to bring together outdoors, mindfulness and creativity. I'm really looking forward to see your creations. 6. Day 4: Words: Journaling: Day 4 is all about combining mandala, and journaling, and thus experiencing the benefits of art, and introspection, clarity, and meditation. We are going to use alphabets, the basic shapes that all of us are comfortable with to create something very personal, and very unique. I feel it's one of the most beginner-friendly and fast freely to make a mandala. Now, if you're already into journaling then I hope by the end of this exercise, you will find a new way of approaching it. If you're new to journaling then I'm sure you're going to get to know an interesting way of putting down your thoughts, and feelings onto paper. Without further ado, let's get started. The material for this mandala is very basic. I'm using this A4 size paper, a rounder, and the set of colorful fineliner pens from staedtler. For this activity, you can use any pen, any paper. The tools don't matter here. What's going to matter is the amount of attention you put on the paper through the medium of your words. Like before, I've already marked the center, and I will start making set of consecutive circles from this point. For the grid after every broad ring or circle, I'm making another circle very close to it. I'm doing this because I will be writing in the broader one, and I'll keep the next one empty. It will act as a gap between each circle and thus in the end the words would look neat. Depending on the way you like to write, you can make your circles as close or as spaced out as you want. During the course of this exercise, I will walk you through one of the ways of making a word mandala, and then later, I will share with you some variations, and also talk about the journal prompts that you can write in your mandala. The grid is done. I will be using these three colors and I will switch between them as when I feel like. But when you make your mandala select the colors that attract you at that moment, and just go with it. This mandala will revolve around the big little joys of life. I will write about the activities, the things that make me happy and lift me up. I like this theme because I think on dull days, not only will it act as a good visual reminder to appreciate the little things, but will also give me ideas to uplift my mood. Now, mandala is an introspective journey. It's a gradual movement from inwards to outwards. So the innermost circle and the circles near it will have the things that matter the most. They form the core of my happy things, and I think as I move outwards, along with tapping within, I will also start looking outwards for answers. This means writing about activities which I don't do regularly or something that I desire to do or the things that I've completely stopped doing, I need to bring back to my life. The centermost circle is quite small here, and that is why I'm trying to figure out a word that not only can be a part of my inner circle but also fit in the space. It's only in the initial circles that there is a problem of space. Once the size increases, it gets easier to fit in the word. As I'm not writing sentences here, I'm being a little particular about fitting the words in the ring. But when you make your mandala, and if the words don't fit, then you can always continue in the next ring. There are no rules. These are just some personal choices. Once you start making this style of mandala, you can decide what works for you. Also, I'm making these little dots after each word, because even though they are part of the complete pattern, I want each word to stand out. Depending on what you write, you can decide if you want to leave space between the words or not. My first two circles have deep breathing, spending time with family, drawing, and [inaudible]. For the next round, I will add activities like calling parents and friends, going out for a walk, and drinking coffee. These are pretty much my go-to mood lifters, and I'm happy I could fill all of them in my initial circles. As you can see, this is more or less like a journal entry, and I'm simply going with the flow and writing everything that is relevant to the topic. I keep filling each ring and I move on to the next one. Under this, I don't feel like using my regular journal. I like how I can come back to this format, and switch things up. Just by putting words in shape, I get to try out new techniques and experiment. Also, sometimes the end result looks really nice, and I end up putting it up on the wall, along with my other artworks. Another thing that I like about writing in a mandala is that there is no pressure to write nicely. I'm someone who doesn't like her handwriting, and even though with time I've stopped getting too conscious about my handwriting, and especially when I'm journaling or writing in my diary, there are these, when I look at a journal entry, and instead of looking at the content, my first thought goes onto the quality of my handwriting. But because art is the no-judgment space for me, I simply don't judge my writing when it's between these rings here, when it's part of a design. For unexpected discoveries like these, it's important to try and experiment with different styles, and mediums. These experiments don't have to be a part of your portfolio or your Instagram account. You don't even have to be good at it. All you need to do is approach them with a curious and open mind, and just do them for the process. There will be times when you will be disappointed, but then there will be times that you will stumble upon something special too, just like how I got a different outlook to accept my handwriting, and then slowly transcend that feeling to other form of handwritten work. This little mandala with all the special things has turned out quite well. I like how it is so personal, and how it pushed me to think beyond the regular choices as I moved outwards. Now, as I said before, there are various ways of incorporating a journaling-based mandala into your life. Here are some journaling prompts to get you started. You can make list, list of your favorite shows, memories, food and etc. Record your small wins. Write about things that you're grateful for. You can write the affirmations that you believe in. Positive words or phrases. Some of your favorite prayer song or a poem, or just a brain or a worry dump exercise. These are just some of the ideas, and once you start creating word mandala, give this activity time and space. Very soon, you will reach out for pages to create more, and more word mandala. Let me share with you some of my favorite written mandala. I think affirmation are one of the most rewarding topics that you can use for this mandala, because when we repeatedly write affirmations or a manifestation, we instill them in our consciousness. Like during this activity, with every circle that I filled, my belief in the affirmation kept getting stronger, and now whenever I look at it, it still radiates with the energy with the belief I felt by making this mandala for the first time. Another very common but very effective journal prompt is gratitude. It's powerful, it changes perspective, and I really enjoyed making this gratitude mandala. The more I build this mandala, the more I thought and wrote about the things I generally miss on daily basis. It's only then it radiated gratitude for all things personal and not so personal. It felt wholesome. Now, in this mandala, I switch up things in terms of design, and the way I wrote the letters. I need some course on the perimeter of the mandala to give it a flower look, and then I wrote here all the things that were troubling me. The thoughts that kept going on and on like a loop found a place here in this mandala. Instead of guiding the weight of those thoughts, I decided to shift them on this page. I kept very small gap between the circles and thus ended up having very tiny words. It wasn't easy to write such small letters, but what made it worthwhile is that in the end, the thoughts don't look as scary as they seemed when they were bouncing around in my head. I can't even read most of them now, all I can see is a flower with some jumble of words. That helps in strengthening the belief that thoughts aren't fact, and that they can be modified the way we want. Last one here is a mandala in which I wrote a poem and give it a look of a star. As you saw, you don't always have to think out of the box or be very creative to practice mindfulness through art. Sometimes it's good enough to set an intention and focus all your energy onto the paper in front of you. Let yourself get absorbed into the words. Let the whole process of repeatedly rotating the paper, writing one word after the other in the limited space help you move into a state of mindfulness. Relax and allow the thoughts and feelings to flow freely onto the paper. It's a free expression without any need to edit all while creating something beautiful. 7. Day 5: Flow: Watercolor & Ink: Welcome to Day 5. I think today's prompt is one of the simplest ways to approach a Mandala. It's fast to make, yet it helps you slow down, brings joy, and inspires you to have some no pressure, creative downtime. It's perfect for the days when you're short on time, and looking for ways to create something with your hands rather than mindlessly scroll through post. Let's add some color and chill to our day 5. For this exercise, I'm using a 300 GSM cold press watercolor paper. Though, the most important material for this Mandala is the roundup. I have already replaced the pencil with the paint brush, and I'm going to use it this week to make my Mandala. I'm using a size 1 round brush, but you can use any type or size of brush. I'm using the water colors from equal line and also have a jar with clean water. I've kept my paints fairly diluted so that they can flow easily. We will also need a fine liner to draw some patterns. I'm using the point 3 fine liner from staedtler, but you can use any type or size of pen. I have already marked the center of the people. I'm just going to dip the brush in the paint and start making lots of consecutive circles all over the place. Easy, right? I'm starting with the circle closest to the center. This being the first one, I'm moving the round slowly and with very less pressure. I like to rotate the pitch to keep the brush pressure consistent. My full circle is done, and now I'm using the same color to make the next circle. If you are using one color, you can keep building up from the smallest to the largest circle. But as I'm working with multiple colors, I keep breaking the sequence as it helps me in placing the colors in a more interesting manner throughout the Mandala. That's why I added this green in between the two yellow circles. It's an intuitive process and once you start doing it, you will easily find your own rhythm. Now the width of each of your circle can keep changing depending on the amount of paint you have in your brush and the pressure you apply. Some of the circles that I've made are very thin because I was very cautious and slow when moving the compass, and for some, I went slightly fast and applied more pressure, and it resulted in a thicker circle. Now my goal here is not to make perfect circles. I'm using the rounder to just switch the way I use my regular art materials and see what new things can come out of it. If during the process there is an uneven circle or a blob of color, here are they. It doesn't bother me because it's only when we let loose, when we don't bother about the final outcome. We can get into the play mode and experience flow. Once we are done making the circles, we are going to fill up the space between them with some simple patterns. While you are making the circle, make sure to keep changing the gap between each of the consecutive circle. If you like to make big and bold shifts, then leave more space. If you like to keep it small and delicate, like the way I do, then keep smaller gaps between the consecutive circles. As you build up your Mandala, check with yourself and see what you feel like doing, and based on your intuition, you can decide on the number of circles as well as the distance you want to keep between them. Just keep making circles the way you want to. Sometimes I go over some of the circles if I want to add more pigment or change their width. I do whatever I feel like in that particular moment. To practice mindfulness during creative activities, it is very important to find the balance between activities that requires some focus and challenge you. But I'm not any complicated or require a lot of decision-making. That's why this whole process of repeatedly dipping the paint and then moving it around and being careful about the brush pressure helps in keeping us in the present moment. If my mind drifts to other thought, it instantly shows on the paper on the way the circle has come out. It is these little visual reminders that help me come back to the present moment. I think this exercise really works as a quick way to practice mindfulness, as well as to uplift your mood by making bright and colorful circles. On the days I have no ideas and yet I want to make something, I'm always drawn towards this circles. Along with being meditative to paint, it's also good exercise to see how the color combinations of your next project can look. If you have bought a new set of colors, you can get to know the shapes by making circles of each color. With every round, add a little more water to see the gradient effect. No matter what you use this for, I think it would be nice to have pages filled with these colorful circles. I'm just going to make circles till the time I'm happy with the final design. It's difficult to stop and I always find myself thinking, let me make another circle. But I think I'm going to stop. I like the way it has turned out. You know, this exercise is like a surprise for me too. Because even though I tried a few with the same color combination while planning for this exercise, I did something else while shooting the lesson. It keeps changing and it's really just about going with the flow, and that makes it super fun. I'm finally done and now I will move on to the second step that I will make some symbol patterns within the circles. Now keeping the whole simple and easy theme in mind, I'm only going to use three types of shape to fill up this whole Mandala. I'm going to switch between lines, dashes and triangle. I'm going with these patterns because these are just some of my favorites. You can decide on the number and type of shapes you want to draw. You can either decide beforehand or you can make them as you go. But one thing that helps is using only few shapes. The lesser the types of shapes, the lesser is the stress to decide what to make next. It's the combination of this limitation and repetition that leads us into the mindful zone. Keeping that in mind, just go through the Mandala and see the role would you like to draw. My focus right now is just to relax and enjoy the process without overthinking the outcome. I keep moving from one space to another, and I don't follow the sequence. Depending on the gap between the circles, I decide which pattern I want to make. Some places I have made patterns back to back, and at some places I have left it blank. There is no right or wrong way of making this type of Mandala. From the colors you choose to the gap you keep between the circles and the pattern you decide to draw are all your personal choice and kind of reflect your mood while making them. I think I'm done. I'm just going to fill up this blank space here in the center. You can either color it or mix some more circle of fill feel some pattern on it. I'm going ahead with these dashes and a dot in the end. There you go. A Mandala for day 5 is done. Here are some other Mandala's I have created using this technique. In 1, I just played with colors and in the other, I used only one type of pattern. Here I just filled up the whole page with tiny little circles. There is joy, there is relaxation in little things, right? Even if you do spend a lot of time as a creative professional, like I do, I feel it's good to engage in these really low state creative activities because this is where the mindfulness magic happens. When we take out time to create something, put all our attention and analogy and do it and yet not care about the outcome, it automatically transforms into a mindfully practice, and it doesn't matter if it is simple or complicated. 8. Day 6: Perspective: Optical Illusion: We have made it to Day 6. Today with just basic art supplies and without any complicated measurements or grid, we are going to create a Mandala using the principles of optical illusion. The reason I have named this prompt as perspective, not just to highlight the illusion aspect of this Mandala but also to highlight the concept of white space. In mindfulness, white space is the space where you do nothing. You let your mind relax and be in peace with solitude. Just like how the white space in design enhances the final artwork, the white space in our lives enhances the quality of our lives. That is why we need to change our perspective around white space. White space is not bench-watching venue or diode. Rather, it just silently sitting and looking out of the window or going for a walk without any distractions. One of the ways I do it is by making repetitive patterns and I'm really excited to share my process with you. For this prompt, I'm using this A4 size, 250 GSM paper. I have already marked the center. We also need a rounder and a fine liner. This one is size 0.5 and it is from Staedtler. I'll be using it to draw the pattern. I'll use the sharpie to color the pattern. But you can use any pen that you have. You can even use paint to fill up the bigger shapes. Now, the fourth step is to draw the basic grid which is just a set of consecutive circles. I have started from the center and I'm trying to keep equal distance between the circles. I'm aiming to make quite a lot of circles as the end result looks better that way. Now, I'm just estimating the distance because I don't want to spend a lot of time in making the grid. But if you feel like you can go ahead and measure the distance between each circle. I'm happy with the size of this grid. For the center, I want to add one more circle. For that, I'm using this template. You can use a coin to do the same thing. Once the grid is done, we are going to fill up the space between each of the circle with curved lines. It's a very simple shape. As I make them, I'm trying to keep equal gap between each of these curves, I'm making them very close. The most important thing while making these is to make even number of curved lines. That's why I always stop in between to count and keep a track of the number of curved lines. But this counting is only for this circle. As we move further, the whole process starts becoming automated and easier. Once the lines are done, I first outline them with pain from both the sides and then I start coloring them. I'll alternate between each block. This is the reason it was important to make them even number. If they were odd, it would throw off the pattern out of sync. Now the coloring is done and with this we can move on to the second layer. In this circle, I start each curved line from the point where the previous one ended. Each curve is connected with the one before it. That's why there's no pressure to count. The previous one guides this one. But the important thing here is that we need to change the direction of the curved line. It's this changed direction and the alternate black and white color scheme that gives the illusion effect in the end. Once again, I outline it and the second layer is done. As you can see, it's quite a simple process. I'm going to keep drawing the pattern in the space between each of these circles first and later, I will color it. I just followed the end point of the curved line from the layer before it and make sure to change its direction. Now, even though in this Mandala the size, the symmetry of shapes is important I still prefer making them directly with pen. I think when we create art for mindfulness, we should let go of the eraser and just trust the process and embrace the lines. Once we let go of the quest for perfection, the whole process becomes very freeing and enjoy. The whole act of repeatedly drawing just one shape is very soothing to the brain. With just one simple action to focus on, it gives our mind a chance to pause and wonder about the things which would generally get buried under the regular chaos of the grown-up life. The drawing part is done. Now I will move on to the most relaxing part of this Mandala, which is filling it up with black. For this, I use sharpie as it has bigger tip. I'm just filling these blocks in a checked boot style. While filling it up with black, I just have to make sure that there aren't any two blocks directly to the left, right or below each other with the same color. As I move around each block filling up this Mandala, my shoulders relax and my breathing slows down. The sounds, the chatter, everything starts fading. The beautiful part about this process is that as I build up the Mandala from the inner circle to the outermost, I also build my awareness of the present moment. With each circle, with each pen movement, it keeps increasing and helps me enter into the flow state where all that matters is the thing that I'm creating and my connection to it. Every white space that I leave here in this Mandala, I remind myself of the importance of white space in my life and how I need to willingly adapt it. I feel just like this Mandala, we too need a balance between the black and the white, between doing and not doing, to achieve rhythmic movement in our lives. This style of Mandala is not just a nice way to practice mindfulness but it also helps in improving line drawing. It's a good style to work on the concepts of proportion and space. Quite a win-win from all the directions. Once all the columns are filled, I just need to fill up that inner circle and outline the outermost circle once again. I started with a dot and I was a little unsure if I wanted to make some curved lines there or not. But then I went ahead with a big bull dot to highlight the center. After the finishing touches, a bit of outline and some re-coloring, it's done. I'm really happy with the final result. I feel, even without getting too detailed with our grid and calculating everything, along with some mindful moments, we also got some movement in our Mandala, now let me show you some other ways. I have made optical illusion claim to Mandalas. In these two, I kept building up on the fourth layer. After a lot of slow movement and patience, I got these interesting looking flower Mandala. These two are made just by using one shape and the check boot color style. The alternate color scheme brings in more movement to these artworks. As you can see, with just a bit of variation, there's a lot that can be done. I think that it is very fascinating that just by using simple shapes, repetition, a play between spacing and direction, and a contrasting check boot style color pattern, we can create a sense of illusion of movement. I feel it's quite a forgiving method. The best part is that you don't need any specialized skills or specialized material to make these Mandalas. As and when you make these Mandalas, try and shift your perspective around the white space. Give your mind some downtime. You will be amazed at the wonderful ideas that can surface. 9. Day 7: Unraveling Expectations: Yarn : Why is it that sometimes it is easier for children to learn something new as compared to adults? Why is it that kids show more excitement towards new things and activities and don't categorize them immediately as easy or hard? Well, it's because of the bigness mindset. It's the mindset which is free from limiting beliefs about what they can or cannot do. Sounds so good, right? But here's the thing. We adults too had that power at one point of time and I feel it is still there. It is just buried under the fear of failure and unrealistic expectations set by others as well as us. In this last lesson, we are going to dig a little deep and see if we can bring back some of that bigness mindset into our creative practice. To get started, grab some paper or a Canvas. I'm using A4-size 250 GSM paper. You will need some regular drawing tools, rounder, and a scissor. We will also need glue. I'm using this all purpose glue. You can use any type of glue. I've also kept this clip handy just in case I need to apply some pressure on the yarn by lamp sticking it. You can also use a pencil to do that. Now, the important part is the, yarn. I'm not very familiar with yarn, and I just grabbed this one from a multi-purpose store near my place. Nothing fancy. I picked it up because it was multicolored and also a little thick. If you have yarn at home, then awesome, go ahead and use it. If not, then you can get something simple like this. Here's a small tip. When it comes to buying yarn, if you want to finish your work fast, then try opting for a yarn which is broader or chunkier. As it's not my usual material, I'm just going to try and make a simple pattern and see where it goes. My first step is definitely the grid. Just a basic three circle grid. You can get as detailed as you want with your grid. I have started by laying out some glue. I'm covering up the whole area with it and being generous with the quantity so that the yarn gets stuck properly. For the center, I think I will do a spiral pattern and for the second drink, maybe I'll go with something like stripes or triangles. I'll decide as I go. I have started placing the yarn from outside to inside. It acts like an outline and then it just gets easier to fill in the space inside. But you can start from inside to outside as well. Try both ways and see what you like more. I'm making sure that I move slowly and I keep tapping the yarn gently. Honestly, this is basic. It's a very simple movement, but it feels quite different. In my everyday work, I only use pen, pins and sometimes digital tools. But then this whole sensation of using a new material, the occasional messiness because of the glue. The concentration required to keep it neat is all making it such a different experience. I have reached the end of the circle. Now for the empty space here, I will just put in some more glue and try to stick some yarn in there. I'm just trying to stick it. After finally trying all sorts of things, the little gap is filled. When you make your yarn mandala, make sure to gently bad everything down so that the yarn sticks properly. For this space here, I've got these small strings of dark and light pink and I will just put them one after the other as stripes in the space. I like how the glue also looks like a button. Now, I'm just softly placing these stripes here. Now, if you want, you can use paintbrush to apply glue and also sketch everything out for a precise look. But I'm doing it freehand because I feel that it'll help more in tapping into the bigness mindset. Also, that's my way of approaching art mindfully. I like the basic constraints, like in this case, making sure everything is in a circle, as that stops me from overthinking. But then I also like working freely as that keeps things low pressure. In the end, it's all about finding the balance between the tangible, the artwork that you are creating and the intangible joy and peace you're gaining from it. I think this looks fine. Now for the outer circle, I have decided that I will again go with the spider. Just like the one I did in the beginning. I really like the rhythm of moving around the yarn in the circle. After laying down the glue, it is just one action. As I've said before, the more we repeat an action, that to a singular one with complete focus, the easier it gets to move to a mindful state. We all like the comfort that comes after being experts in our respective fields and rules. After all, we have worked so hard for it. But then, let's not forget that there's freedom and a world full of possibilities when we put ourselves in a bigness position. Once in a while, it's good to wear the bigness hat and start with zero expectations. Honestly, this exercise, it is nothing exceptional, but it is my gentle nudge to you to embrace new things without caring about the outcome. A mandala for day 7 is done. Here are two other mandalas that I have made with the same technique. Here I sketched a flower and filled the yarn accordingly. In this one, I just made spirals because that's what I liked doing the most when it came to yarn. I strongly believe that expectations is the death of creativity. I'm all up for learning and improving. After all, they bring meaning to our actions and drive us. But then we need to make sure that the quest to grow doesn't overshadow our creativity, our intuition. Sometimes it's good to practice a particular style for days, but then sometimes it's also good to do something without any preparation and just go with the flow. I think it is this balance that later develops into a personal style. So do try and make things with different and new materials as they will help in cleaning the debris set over the bigness mindset. Assume nothing, expect nothing, and see what happens. 10. Final Thoughts : Congratulations on making it through the class. I really appreciate the time you took out. The circle is full of possibilities and I feel so happy that together we explored so many of them. I feel that we too have come to a full circle. We started with kids favorite stickers and we ended up with a desire to adapt more of a beginners mindset similar to the one that kids have. In between, we learned to deepen our understanding about control and then stepped outside to create with natural material and get comfortable with letting go. We tapped into the power of journaling, simplified the creative process, and looked at black and white repeat patterns, as a way to bring balance and rhythm in our lives. I hope it has been a wholesome, mindful and creative experience for you. It's okay if you can't relate to all the exercises. They were meant more like an outlet to help you explore mindfulness, and connect with the instinctive, creative, childlike side of yours. Pick up and adapt what you relate to most. You can extend these proms to read different other art forms too. You don't have to limit your creativity and your ideas to just one shape or format. Always remember that the more you open up to possibilities, let go of expectations and be in tune of what you're making, the more centered and mindful you become. The best part of creating like that, is that it's fun too. I'm really excited to see your creations. Please do upload your artworks in the project gallery. If you have any questions, you can share them in the discussion board. You can also connect with me on Instagram @expressionsbyneha and yes, please don't forget to tag me, when you share your Mandala creations. You can also follow me here on Skillshare to get notified about my next class. Thank you once again for taking this class. Take care and see you next time.